Peaceful Expansion

I have an irrational affinity for claiming land on the map. Civilization IV and V expand your empire’s borders through culture, somewhat like Zerg creep except that it just keeps going. Civ V took away the dueling culture aspect, whereby empire borders would fluctuate as one culture overpowered another on a tile. This makes the Great Artist’s culture bomb much less impressive, although more permanent; it also takes away the immensely satisfying culture conquest of cities, whereby cities in other nations riot and defect because you are just that awesome.

Expanding your cultural borders is an effective defense. The further away enemy units must stay without either your permission or a declaration of war, the more time you have to marshal your defenses when that war happens. It also lets you claim some nice tiles beyond your cities’ borders, because whether or not you can use them, you do not want anyone else to have them. You can also block major travel routes so that those not in your favor must go decades out of their way.

I’m sure this is some primal mammalian urge, the digital equivalent of peeing on trees to mark your territory. It is still enormously gratifying to see the entire continent in your color while the numbers on the meters at the top of the screen keep going up.

: Zubon

6 thoughts on “Peaceful Expansion”

  1. That was my biggest disappointment in Civ V. I really missed taking over through the power of McDonalds and Starbucks ;) (Not to mention the ridiculous tech edge I usually go for in strategy games.)

  2. I agree that it is immensely satisfying, but it is this unwillingness to focus upon military might which I would always exploit whilst playing RTS or turn based strategy with my friend Ed.

    Ed would always spend his time in AoE or Civ making sure he hit every single tech upgrade before moving up an age or fortifying his borders. Unfortunately for him, I had no qualms about skipping certain techs if it meant that I’d have the strongest military. In the end, though he was powerful if he actually got around to building some of his upgraded troops he simply didn’t have the numbers to keep me from rampaging through his lands. This would happen almost every time! He was a true scholar, not a general.

    1. So far, the computer has been very poor at getting that rampage going. I feel like The Culture, where someone declares war on me only to see the hippies switch over to Mechanized Infantry. Poor Darius: he offered me peace if I paid him, then he offered me peace, then he offered me everything but his capital if I would just stop.

    2. I think the military game is a lot more difficult to achieve in this game compared to prior editions. It can take several turns to reach even a border city due to the cultural expansion, then having that city be able to shoot at incoming troops regardless if they have a garrison or not.. then the city defenses such as the wall, castle, etc raising the power necessary to defeat the city, before taking it over.

      In fact, I think it has made it easier in some regards to utilize more of the tech and diplomatic strategies. Culture still seems more difficult with the completion of the utopia project. However, I also admit that in every game I have built all the culture buildings/wonders/etc.. I have also kept up on the tech, as a back up, so typically I end up winning the space race first..

  3. I love territory expansion games. That’s a big part of that Zomblobs! game I’m designing. It’s based on spatial control, which to me is a more interesting mechanic for large scale strategy than money races or level grinds.

    …and @distilled, I’d always play the way your friend did in Master of Orion games; Psilons or the like making peace with everyone while I raced up the tech tree, then build a super army in the late game. Sometimes I didn’t make it to the late game, but if I did, I was unstoppable. Big if, sometimes, but oh, so satisfying when it worked.

  4. While I find Civ V to be superior than III or IV (the jury is still out when compare to II though, my long time favorite) I admit that I also miss the cultural conflict aspect that III and IV had. Capturing cities with culture was very satisfying indeed.

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